Facebook post from Columbia Police Officers' Association sparks national critique

Someone with the Columbia Police Officers' Association posted on its Facebook page about the desire for a new armored vehicle.

The post, which has been removed, said: "Option #2: CPD wants a new armored vehicle. Partly b/c when you drive up in one, people surrender and come out of the house. BUT . . . if CPD rolled up in the new Mercedes 6x16, you KNOW all the boys in the hood would come running out the house â?? just to admire your ride! I say we roll up in style."

A spokesperson told The Huffington Post "that the post was satire, rather than a suggestion. The spokesperson also noted that the organization is not formally a union."

Comments on The Huffington Post article include:

"cops acting like pigs.....OINK" - llyd wlsh

"I am appalled statements like this come from my home town but really isn't surprising. It's racist whether over color or social economics. We have our good and bad and then our bad that think their good..." - Simplymeinmo

According to the association's Facebook page, "The Columbia Police Officers Association is a non-union, non-profit organization of law enforcement officers from the Columbia, Missouri, area."

Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid shared his thoughts on the post through his own Facebook page Wednesday, saying "This Facebook post from the Columbia Police Officers Association shows breathtaking racial insensitivity that cannot be tolerated. The post displays an attitude and lack of professionalism that is unacceptable to the citizens of Columbia. Furthermore, it reflects poorly on the many fine, disciplined police officers in Columbia. I ask for a formal apology from the Columbia Police Officers Association to the citizens of Columbia."

Dale Roberts, CPOA executive director, released the following statement about the post Thursday:

"On March 19th, 2013, I posted a story about the new Mercedes 6x16 and a comparison between it and the Armored Personnel Carrier needed by the police department, on the Columbia Police Officers' Association (CPOA) Facebook page.

"One of the justifications offered for an Armored Personnel Carrier was the theory that the mere appearance of such a vehicle would be enough to make someone drop their weapon and come running out of the house. I countered that, if that were the case, the new Mercedes 6x16 truck would be even more effective at drawing people out.

"Although intended to be satirical in nature, the post was taken out of context and perceived to be quite different than intended. As soon as this sentiment was voiced, I publicly apologized and I immediately deleted it from our Facebook page.

"Inasmuch as the post was removed within 40 minutes of appearing and the apology was issued at the same time, I have been at a loss as to how to respond to the demand several days later, from the Mayor's campaign for yet another public apology.

"Nevertheless, I have no reservation about stating now what I stated three days ago. I apologize if the post was read to be something different than intended. I removed it immediately and am glad that I did, and I regret any misunderstanding it may have caused.

"The message which was read into the post was clearly not the view of the Columbia Police Department, the Columbia Police Officers' Association, nor did the misconception in any way reflect my own views or attitudes.

"The Columbia Police Officers' Association, on behalf of our members, strives to build a positive working relationship with the administration of the Columbia Police Department, the leaders of the City of Columbia , and the citizens our members serve."